I-81 Viaduct Project

Parsons, Inc. and New York State Department of Transportation
Syracuse, NY

Roads can shape the character of a community. Interstate 81 (I-81) is critical to the character of the Syracuse area by serving as a major commuter route and providing access to jobs, businesses, and services in downtown Syracuse and University Hill. However, portions of it have deteriorated and are nearing the end of their useful life. EDR is a member of the Lead Consultant Team supporting the NY State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to effectively evaluate alternatives for the project under the direction of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This examination of economic, social, and environmental impacts will result in a final decision that will determine the future of the deteriorating portion of viaduct in the City of Syracuse. NYSDOT has released its preferred recommendation to remove this portion of viaduct and replace it with a grid of surface level corridor streets, known as the Community Grid alternative.

EDR has been responsible for assisting with and managing portions of the community engagement, visualization, and cultural resources services for the NEPA process. Specific outreach tasks have included: coordinating community engagement events since 2013, including public open houses, formal public hearings (both in-person and virtual), community information fairs and festivals, and staffing a community outreach center.

EDR visualization and cultural resource services include production of final renderings based on existing 3D models, preparation of a Visual Impact Assessment (60 visual simulations), Phase IA Archaeological Sensitivity Assessment with an extensive historic map analysis of downtown Syracuse, Phase IB Archaeological Survey Work Plan with protocols, methodology, and sequence of urban archaeological excavations in coordination with construction activities, Phase IB Archaeological Shovel Testing fieldwork and report, Section 106 Consultation support on behalf of NYSDOT, and authoring portions of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement as part of NEPA review for the project.